My mother, Elma...aged 18 yearsElma...18 years oldMum modelling in a fashion parade in the early FiftiesMy Nana on her wedding day; Ivy aged 16 and my mother taken on her third birthday...17th February, 1922.
When I started thinking about what I’d write in honour of mothers – it being Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, 12th May - like a bolt out of the blue it suddenly hit me that I’ve lived longer without my mother in my life than I did with her in it!
My mother passed away unexpectedly 39 years ago. She was far too young at the age of 54. I was unprepared for such a massive loss.
Very few amongst us are prepared for the passing of a loved one, even in cases when served notice of pending consequences. Knowing that nothing, and no one, lasts forever makes no difference when one is confronted with one’s own personal, individual loss and grief. Hours aren’t spent practicing beforehand learning how to cope with the emotional rollercoaster of losing a loved one.
There is no time limit on grief. It’s my belief that grieving is endless. However, as time passes, we learn to compartmentalize; but, in my humble opinion that doesn’t mean we cease grieving.
No matter how much we scream, scratch, kick and complain about change, change happens. Nothing remains the same.
I’ll be eternally grateful to my Mum. She gave me the two greatest gifts of all...life and love.
As is the case for many of us, I’m sure; I rue the hugs in which I was deficient; for the too many words left unspoken; for the hasty, harsh, at times, sarcastic utterances; the thanks I negligently forgot to bestow; the sacrifices I selfishly failed to recognise.
A mother’s love is unconditional. It’s wonderful that one day out of 365 or 366 at a leap, we celebrate mothers; but the celebration should continue throughout every day of the year; not just for one day.
Many of us leave it until it’s too late to say the words we wish we’d said; when it’s too late to say “Thank you” and “I love you”.
My mother wasn’t perfect, but, to be candid, who amongst us is?
Mum did her best in raising my late brother and me. Times were tough, but she and her “Mumma”, our Nana, instilled within us good values and manners.
When we were children, my older brother and I were taught to acknowledge the absurdity and futility in many of life’s situations. Our Mother and Nana taught us not to be ashamed of our tears or fears; they opened our hearts and minds to laughter.
Our pantry was always well-stocked. We were never without clean clothes on our backs, nor were we ever without shoes on our feet; except, of course, when tearing about the yard barefooted!
In their heydays, Mum and Nana were tall, attractive women.
Both Elma, my Mum (maiden name “Hay”) with her deep auburn hair and Nana aka Ivy Hay (maiden name “Hose”) with her rich chestnut-coloured hair had no need for henna enhancements. The names “Hay” and “Hose” are of Scottish origin.
A source of constant amusement and teasing within our small family troupe was Mum’s harmless superstitions. She never wore green unless it was accompanied by red, whether it be a concealed red thread sown into the underside of her dress hem or a red button hidden somewhere; either would suffice to ward off whatever needed to be warded off. Spilled salt caused more salt to be tossed over her left shoulder – just in case - better safe than sorry!
I miss my Mum, even after all the years since her passing. We’ve a lot to talk about and much laughter left to share. You may not always see eye to eye – but honour and love your mother - you’ll have no other.
And I miss my mother’s mother, my Nana - who passed away two years after my mother.
It was too sad to watch her sorrow of the death of her daughter – my mother.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers.
Fluffy French Toast: Slowly whisk in 1c milk to 1/4c plain flour; add pinch salt, 3 eggs, 1/2tsp cinnamon, 1tsp vanilla and 1tbl sugar; whisk until smooth; saturate 12 thick bread slices in mixture. Heat lightly-oiled pan over med-heat; cook until golden on both sides. Serve drizzled with Maple Syrup, strawberries, sliced bananas or other fresh fruit.
Streusel-topped Stuffed French Bread: Melt 2tbs butter over med-heat; add 2tbs each sugar and water; stir to dissolve; stir until foamy; add 2 bananas, sliced into ½-inch thick rounds (or 1c sliced strawberries); cook until tender; cool. Combine 50g cream cheese and 2tbs butter; fold fruit through cheese (if using strawberries, mix strawberry jam into cheese). Cut a 2-inch slit ¾ way through 6 x 1-1/2-inch thick bread slices; spoon cheese into bread; gently close pocket; chill. Whisk 2c full cream milk, 6 eggs, 1/2tsp cinnamon, vanilla and 1/2 cup sugar; saturate bread in egg mixture, 10mins; turn occasionally. Place 1-1/2c toasted almond flakes on plate; coat both sides of bread with almonds; place on baking sheet. Combine 1/4c brown sugar, 1/4c quick oats, 2tbs plain flour and 2tsp cinnamon; using fingertips, rub in 1/4c butter to make crumble; sprinkle over bread. Bake in preheated 175C oven until golden, about 25mins. Serve hot with maple syrup.
Berry-Ricotta Pancakes: Combine 1/2c whole-wheat flour, 1/4c plain flour, 1tsp sugar, 1tsp baking powder, 1/4tsp bi-carb and 1/2tsp nutmeg. Whisk together until smooth, 3/4c ricotta, 1 large egg, 1 large egg white, 1/2c buttermilk, 1tsp lemon zest and 1tbl lemon juice; stir dry ingredients into wet until just combined. Place oiled non-stick pan on med-heat. Pour 1/4c batter for each pancake, 2 at a time into pan; sprinkle each pancake with un-thawed or fresh blueberries. Cook until edges dry and bubbles begin to form; flip! And flipping great served with vanilla yoghurt and berries on the side!
Flamin’ Redhead: Pour 3ml cranberry juice into shot glass; add 3ml maple syrup and 24ml vodka. Enjoy!